Unique insight into life and death in Leeds unveiled by Special Collections

A brand new resource for researchers, the burial registers of the Leeds General Cemetery, are now available online.

Extract from Leeds General Cemetery Burial Register (ref: MS 421/3/1/6)


The 25 registers have been digitised and transcribed, and contain over 96,000 entries of details for each person buried at the cemetery. They are available through the Leeds General Cemetery Burial Registers Index.

In addition to the index, a new catalogue for the Leeds General Cemetery Company Ltd Archive is available.

The Leeds General Cemetery

The Leeds General Cemetery was opened in 1835 as a public burial ground in Leeds. It was in operation until the 1960s, when the University of Leeds acquired the company and landscaped the site to create a public park. The area is now known as St George’s Fields.

Special Collections holds the extensive records of the Leeds General Cemetery Company Ltd. Mainly consisting of business and administrative papers alongside the burial registers, the archive covers the lifetime of the company, with records dating from 1733 to 1992.

Dr Stella Butler, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, said: ‘This vast archive is a vital resource for family history researchers, the University community, and the wider academic world. We are therefore thrilled to be launching this online resource to give greater access to our collections.’

Find out more from the Leeds General Cemetery collections guide.

The burial registers index

The new burial registers index is openly available on the Leeds University Library Special Collections website. The registers record information such as the deceased person’s name, age, gender, dates of death and burial, cause of death, occupation, and parents details. Key features of the index are the ability to browse a full list of all the recorded causes of death and occupations; and view charts of key statistics from the data.

Dr Laura King, University Academic Fellow in Health, Family and the Everyday, School of History, said: “The digitisation of the burial registers presents an exciting opportunity for researchers to use these collections in entirely new and innovative ways.”

“As well as allowing family and local historians to trace particular individuals and families more easily and quickly, researchers interested in demographic history, social history and the history of medicine will now be able to analyse this dataset of over 96,000 individuals to explore changing patterns of health, social mobility, and much more.”

Medical Collections Project

This work was undertaken as part of the Medical Collections Project, which Special Collections launched in November 2015. The project's aim is to make a number of medical-related collections more widely accessible, to encourage use, and inspire new research by creating online catalogues and digitising selected items. This will include improving the long-term preservation of this material by undertaking repackaging and conservation treatments where appropriate. The project is funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources Award, and will run until May 2018.

Homepage banner image: Photograph of Leeds General Cemetery, Dec 1962 (ref: MS 421/6/1/5)

Posted in: